Rejection is the worst part of looking for a job. Especially when it comes after a fantastic (or so you thought) job interview, it shakes your confidence, both professionally and personally. So how do you recover your equilibrium when a great interview results in no job offer?
Has this ever happened to you?
You landed an interview for your dream job at a great company. You’re excited, so you arrive 10 minutes early, have a great conversation with the receptionist. You wait patiently and are greeted warmly by the interviewer.
The interview goes great. No, not just great; it’s the single best interview you’ve ever had. You’ve done your homework, and it shows. You ask great questions and connect with the interviewer.
The interview lasts 2 hours, they take you on tour and show you where you will be working. Then, finally, they tell you that you’re perfect for the position. But they are still interviewing others.
They tell you to contact them back in 2 weeks. No problem. You practically float home and immediately email a thank you note.
Now you wait. At this point, you’re pretty confident that you will be in, at least, the second round of interviews. At the two-week mark, you shoot off the requested contact.
A week later, you get a reply saying they are still interviewing and will contact you soon to move forward. Another couple of weeks go by with no contact, and the doubts start creeping in. You wait another week and then sent them another email “just to keep in touch.”
And then you get a “thank you for your interest but we’ve decided to go with other applicants” email three days later. WTH? It’s like a punch to the gut. You reply with the tried and true “thank you for your time and good luck with your search” email, gritting your teeth the whole time. Why? WHY?
Reality Check Time
There are many reasons employers don’t extend job offers. It could be a loss of funding or the person who interviewed you didn’t have final hiring authority. Or they may have found someone with more experience or who is a better fit for the position.
So, now what? How do you recover?
Step 1: Process The Experience
Set aside some time to process the emotional fallout.
- Talk to someone. A friend, a family member, or a spiritual advisor; let them be a sounding board.
- Keep a journal. A job search journal can be an excellent place to write down all your thoughts and feelings about the situation.
- Have a mini-meltdown. (This is my personal favorite, usually during shower time.) Find someplace quiet where you can be alone. Cry, rant, rave and get mad at the unfairness of it all. Then let it go.
No one likes to feel rejected, and it’s okay to be angry or disappointed. But it’s not okay to let that anger and disappointment affect your future job search efforts.
Step 2: Renew Your Motivation And Self-confidence.
At this point, if you’re anything like me, your motivation and self-confidence have taken a beating. So, it’s reaffirmation time!
- Review the good. Take about 10-15 minutes and jot down your strengths.
- Take a look at your past achievements. Weird as it sounds, reading over your past resumes can be cathartic. If you have a master or life resume, read through that. See what you’ve accomplished in your work career.
- Do you have any evaluations or awards? Pull them out and take a look.
- Spend time with your family or friends; this will help you remember what or who you’re working for.
Step 3: Identify What You Learned.
Every experience, good or bad, is a learning experience. So, now you need to figure out what you learned. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What made it a great interview from your perspective?
- If you could do it over again, what would you do differently?
- Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes; what would you have looked for in a candidate?
- What did you talk about that sparked conversation with the interviewer?
Now that you’ve processed the experience, done some reaffirmations, and identified what you learned. It’s time to get back out there. Go for it! Don’t let this experience derail your job search.
I’d love to hear about what you’ve done in the past to get over a job rejection? Please share in the comments section!